Church-based response to sexual violence

Sexual violence is common within communities worldwide – but, as an issue, it remains largely hidden. Women, girls, men and boys are all at risk of sexual violence. 

  • Today, many women – in some countries, as many as one in three – are beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetime
  • Worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
  • On the basis of data collected from 24,000 women in ten countries, between 55 and 95 per cent of women who have been physically abused by their partners have never contacted NGOs, shelters or police for help. 

(Source: UNiTE to End Violence against Women, 2009)

There are church networks stretching across many communities where the influence and nature of faith mean that churches are reaching the most vulnerable people in areas NGOs cannot.

Churches have a vast potential to:

  1. Speak out on the issue of sexual violence and challenge the stigma surrounding issues of sex and gender inequality
  2. Help to change entrenched attitudes
  3. Provide practical care for survivors of rape and their families

Tearfund has a strategy for ending sexual violence in 150 communities in 15 countries across the world by 2018. 

Our goal is that churches will play a key role in both preventing and supporting survivors of sexual violence. 

Tearfund believes that the church should always be a place where social norms and attitudes can be challenged if they are causing harm. 

The Bible teaches that all humans should be treated with love and respect and that men and women are created equal in the eyes of God.


NEW! Final Evaluation Report of the Chemin Pour La Vie Programme (CHEPVIE): Holistic responses of faith-based organisations to HIV and gender in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo

CHEPVIE report cover

English (PDF 5.3 MB)
French (PDF 5.1 MB)
English summary report (PDF 2.9 MB)
French summary report (PDF 2.9 MB)

NEW! Transforming Masculinities  Great Lakes Region Summary Report: Social attitudes and practices of men in relation to gender

Transforming Masculinities English cover
English (PDF 3.5 MB)

French (PDF 2.9 MB)

NEW! Masculinities, faith and ending sexual and gender based violence

DRC Country Report SV front cover

DRC Summary Report – English (PDF 1.6 MB)  NEW! French (PDF 495 KB)
Burundi Summary Report – English (PDF 917 KB)  NEW! French (PDF 786 KB)
Rwanda Summary Report – English (PDF 1.1 MB)  NEW! French (PDF 433 KB)

DRC Full Country Report SV front cover

DRC Full Report English (PDF 848 KB)
Burundi Full Report English (PDF 660 KB)
Rwanda Full Report English (PDF 518 KB)

NEW! If I speak out will it change? Listening to survivors of sexual violence in eastern DRC

If I speak out English cover

English (PDF 450 KB)

French (PDF 462 KB)

Breaking the Silence – report on the role of the South African church to end sexual violence

 Silent No More – a report

Community-based research: Potential role of the church 

  • South Africa – English (PDF 1.3 MB) NEW!
  • Burundi – English (PDF 816 KB) and French (PDF 819 KB)
  • Rwanda – English (PDF 1 MB) and French (PDF 1.1 MB)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo – English (PDF 664 KB) and French (PDF 728 KB)
  • Liberia – English (PDF 2.6 MB)

Community-based research: Needs assessment of survivors of sexual violence in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)
Community-based research: Potential role of the church to end FGM/C in Tanzania